Monday, August 1, 2011

In my midnight confessions

Even as nice as my neighbors were, Bruno didn’t like stepping into my new world much, especially in the evening when Puppet came out.  So our together time was spent at The Tide, or bowling in Colma, or just driving around visiting friends.  But one night he had a hankering for a hot home-made meal by Tranquilla, so he showed up about 10:45, after he had closed the market, with a big bouquet of daisies, some amaretti for dessert, and a bottle of Chablis.  I had gotten off work about nine and already had a crispy roasted chicken with lemon and rosemary coming out of the oven, with some buttered and parsleyed new potatoes, and a steaming plate of spinach redolent with olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic.

I heard his tap on the door.  “Come on in, it’s open,” I called out.

“You don’t know for sure it’s me,” he scolded.  “I thought you were going to keep the dead bolt on since your living doll across the street paid you a visit.”

“Don’t be snotty,” I said, “or I’ll have to pop you one.  But I appreciate the thought, thanks anyway.”

Bruno had a point, but I was smart-mouthed to him anyway, and he liked me that way.

“Come here, stunad,” he griped, and messed up my hair like I was a pesky kid, then threw his arm around my neck in a mini choke hold before he swung me around and kissed me.  “Don’t be incorrigible.  I’m hungry.  What’s to eat?”

“Have a seat in the dinner theater,” I said, and took the flowers and the wine from him, putting the daisies in a clean milk pitcher and filling two kitchen glasses with Chablis.  Soon we had hot plates of velvety, crisp-skinned chicken with trimmings in front of us and a burlesque show right across the way, and each other.  What more could anyone want? 

“Tranquilla,” Bruno mumbled over a mouthful of dark meat just sucked off the bone, “come over to my place after work tomorrow.  There’s something I’ve gotta show you.”

“Is this something I’ve seen before?”  I joked, raising one eyebrow and looking at him over my wine glass.

“I seriously hope not,” he said.  “But if you want, you can see that, too.  Mama has bingo tomorrow at St. Peter and Paul.”

“You’ve got a date,” I said.  “Now eat your dinner like a good boy before it gets cold.  Do you want music?”  He nodded, his mouth full of spinach, so I dusted off Vic Damone and he serenaded us while Puppet danced the last show for us that we would ever watch together.


I finished my work day about 5:30 the next day, a full day’s work since it was summer and I was free to work as much as I liked.  Bruno got the evening off, too, so the plan was to go over to his place first while Mama was at bingo, and he would “show” me whatever it was he had to show.  Then we would go out to The Tide and share a crab and a bottle and a loaf, and hang out with Petey and whoever else rolled in till we got tired.

Bruno and I left the store together right on time, since Ray and Jean were closing and we had nothing to do but to take off our aprons and go.  Bruno and Ray grabbed hands and pulled each other in for a shoulder butt as we left, almost as if Bruno was going away for a long time, or for something big.  One clear thought hit me front and center:  I was not ready to get married.  Please, God, don’t let it be that.  You know I love him, so much I can’t describe it.  But don’t make me tell him I can’t marry him, not today.

I shook it off, sure it was nothing, and let my hand slip into Bruno’s, drinking in the warmth of his palm and moving closer to him so his shoulder pressed against mine as we walked.  His house was right up Union and just shy of Hyde one house, right behind another grocery store that didn’t hold a candle to Lighthouse, in my view, but served as the foundation for six apartments I coveted, ones with round bay windows, painted gingerbread style in burgundy, white, and a deep navy, boasting arguably the best views in the city.  My friend Mandy from the Institute had snagged a one-bedroom in that building for $180 a month, and she was lying in wait for a studio to open up so she could shoehorn me in, already laying the groundwork with the landlady for me.

I looked up at Bruno as we came to his steps, overwhelmed by his manliness and loyalty, his gentle protectiveness.  He returned my look with a soulful warmth that I had never felt from any other man I had known.  I leaned my head against his shoulder and absorbed that moment with every ounce of me, not sure why it was so precious, still knowing I could not marry him then and there, but knowing that I loved him like I had never loved another human being in my life.

“Come on, Tranquilla.  Come in and sit here.”  He led me past the well-worn granite steps through his heavy oak front door, which opened on an angle to a little landing that stepped up two steps into a sitting room overlooking Union Street one floor above the sidewalk.  I sat and turned to look out the window at the passersby, settling into the soft cushions of the 1968 chesterfield that smelled like Bruno and his Mama.  “Just let me go get something and I’ll be right back,” he said quietly.

Don’t let it be a ring, that’s all I ask, I thought.  A friendship ring, maybe, although the mizpah was more than enough for me for those purposes.  I never took it off except to take a shower, and only then because it hung on the same chain as Bob’s locket, and I didn’t want to wet the little picture of the Eiffel Tower.  If it’s not a ring, I’ll be the happiest girl on earth.

Bruno came back into the sitting room from his bedroom, one flight up the narrow stairs that ran up the wall all the way to the roof, stopping at each of the three floors of the narrow pink plaster Victorian.  In his hand he was holding an aluminum Halliburton briefcase, the kind Graham kept his 2 ¼ x 2 ¼ inch format Bronica and its two lenses in.  Well, it’s probably too big for a ring, I thought, breathing a sigh of relief.  I looked up at him and smiled.

“Well, that’s mysterious enough.  Are you taking up photography?”  I asked, suddenly rushed with images of the two of us sharing afternoons on the beach, in the park, at the zoo, photographing the world and each other.  How wonderful that would be.

Bruno sat down next to me and laid the case across his lap.  “Here it is,” he said.  “I always keep this locked when it’s in the house, I want you to know, but I just unlocked it to show you now.”

He undid the latches that held the clasps in place, and opened the lid.  Inside was grey rubber foam, top and bottom, covered with cone shaped knobs all over the surface to cushion the contents.  Out of the foam in the bottom half of the case were cut two shapes, which cradled what was inside:  a Beretta 92 with a threaded barrel, and the silencer that went with it.

My mind went inert, numb with confusion.  “That doesn’t look like a camera.  What is it?”  I asked inanely.

“Look at it.  What do you see?” he asked me.  “What do you see?  Tell me.”

“I don’t know, Bruno.  What do I see?” I repeated.

“No, Tranquilla, you tell me.  What do you see?”

“I don’t know, Bruno.  I don’t know.  Tell me it’s not how it looks.  Please,” I begged softly.

“I don’t know what you mean by that, Tranquilla, and I don’t know what you think you see.  But I know what I see.  This is who I am, just a working guy who’s trying to make a good living so he can have a family someday.  And I do it the best way I know how, by taking care of the business that’s given to me, even though it may be distasteful to some people.  I love you, Tranquilla.  The question is, do you love me?  Do you love me, Tranquilla?”  He looked straight through me, his ice-blue eyes like picks looking straight through my heart.  Madone.

“Who are you?” I whispered.

“Do you love me?” he whispered back, eyes locked and hard.

I could feel tears of shock welling up in my eyes, rolling over the lids and down my cheeks, leaving the hot steamy trails that only tears of fresh grief ever leave.  I was overcome with a wave of nausea that bolted me to my feet.  I took one last look at his eyes, his eyes that were so hard but had been so soft for me, the way the light picked up the fuzz on his still childlike face, the comforting manliness of his broad, muscled chest.  I tried to remember the tenderness of his voice, but it was gone, wiped out by the icy hiss, “What do you see?” 
For a second of struggle, I tried to lie to myself, but the picture was unmistakable, his words too clear: “This is who I am.” 

I walked around him, and he sat, motionless, as I took the three steps down to the landing and out his front door, never to turn around, never to come back.  When I made it to the sidewalk, I made a hard right, going into the first alley I came to, and threw up until nothing came any more, nothing but sobs and emptiness and grief.   After that, it was a long walk home.


The next day, I called Ray and begged off sick, telling him I must have gotten a touch of the flu or eaten something that didn’t agree with me.  With it being summer, it was a long day to do nothing but suffer.  I lay on the sofa bed and listened to Vic Damone, then Frank Sinatra, then Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and wept, and wept, and wept until I couldn’t weep any more.  When night fell, I sat in the darkened apartment at Bruno’s table and looked out the window at Puppet, knowing the leftovers from our last supper and the rest of the wine were still in the fridge, haunting me.  Finally, I turned on the light, and stood in the window face to face with the only man left in my life, kneeling to the floor in tears, sobs wracking me inside and out.  After a few minutes I stood up again and looked out, and Puppet was standing very still, arms at his sides.  He shyly raised his left arm and waved, unmistakably, as soon as he saw me, as close as he could come to offering me human comfort.  I waved back weakly, and then, with his characteristic panache, he went back to his Puppet dance, the one stable, predictable thing I had to hold onto as I headed into that second long, dark, empty night, alone.

The next morning, one full day and two nights of solid grieving behind me, I knew I could not ignore what I’d seen.  It was a Saturday, and I knew I was going to find Valerie somehow that day, and get the phone number of her detective.

I went into the deli about mid-morning at the beginning of the shift I was scheduled for.  Bruno was nowhere to be seen.  “Your boy decided to take some vacation days he had coming, Tranquilla,” Ray said, when he noticed me combing the store, looking for my other half.  “He’ll be back in about a week.  Not to worry, bella.  Jimmy’s gonna do produce and close this week.”  Inside I was relieved, knowing I wouldn’t have had the guts to handle seeing him yet anyway.

So I settled into my everyday job at the deli, listening to customers tell me their stories, slipping leftovers to the down-and-outers that came to the loading dock every day, wrapping something for the garbage men to pick up from Ray in the morning.  I had never been on my own before, having always been attached to a man since I lived here, as his appendage.  But now here I was, just Shelley, manless, the deli girl who had helped launch a neighborhood institution with her recipes, and a destination for tired hungry people at the end of a long day.

Around dinnertime Val came in and ordered the eggplant parmesan and a side of garlic green beans with lemon and olive oil.  I poured her a plastic glass of Chianti and pushed it across the counter to her while the eggplant was heating, uncharacteristically quiet.  “What’s happening, Shel?  You seem like you have something on your mind,” she observed, inquisitive.

“Can we talk?” I answered in a low voice, glancing down the counter to make sure Ray was in his spot behind the register.  There he was as usual, weighing a few tomatoes on the hanging scale for Armistead and chatting him up about one thing or another.

“What are you doing tonight at 11:00?  Can you meet me at Perry’s and save us a table?  I want a spinach salad and some of those bread sticks,” I went on.

“As long as you don’t make me wait.  A person could wind up pregnant sitting alone in there, or worse.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll probably be early.  I promise.”

“OK, then, 11:00 it is.”  She quaffed the last drops of her wine and grabbed her eggplant, giving me a look that implied concern, and justifiably so, as she left.

At 10:00 Jimmy locked the front, and I started wrapping the dishes left in the case and checking on the things I had been prepping all evening for the next day – polenta with grated pecorino romano, baked ziti with pesto and ricotta, osso buco with burgundy gravy, and fresh asparagus that I would roast in the morning, already marinating in olive oil and garlic.  With everything ready and stored in the walk-in, I wiped my hands on my apron, threw it in the hamper and said good-night to Jimmy, a friend of Ray’s who had lost his sales job about six months ago and now had a new job at Lighthouse.  He seemed even more loyal to Ray than Bruno, working heroic numbers of hours and disappearing for brief stretches in the middle of the day to do whispered errands at Ray’s direction.  It was hard not to wonder, with everything that was coming together now, what loyalty to Ray really meant, and what Jimmy did when he went away.

I hopped the 41 Union down the hill to Perry’s and got there about 10:55, just as Val was walking up the street.  The bar was packed, but there were two tables free, actually what I had in mind for the noise and chaos factor.  We chose a high table near the window, a cold and undesirable enough spot that no one else would likely want to pull up a seat, and put our heads together to shut out the crowd.

“OK, Shel, what’s the deal?” Val asked, looking at me over her nose with that firm no-nonsense expression that she took on whenever she talked about Lighthouse.

I poured out my long sad story, punctuated by wine orders and the arrival of big salads and breadsticks.  Her face softened considerably when I got to the part about holing up in my Tenderloin apartment with Puppet Man as my only company and grieving for a whole day before coming out to face the world again.

“I brought one of the detective’s business cards figuring it would be something like this,” she said.  “Here – his name is Arturo Beltran, and he’s very kind.  And like I told you before, he really already knows you, so he won’t be surprised if you call.  How are you doing, though?”

I thought for a moment.  “You know, I’m OK.  I had a good day at work today, just being the deli girl and seeing everybody I care about in the neighborhood.  I guess I’ve had a few turns around the block with losing someone I thought I loved before, so grieving has become something I know how to just do and be done with.  Really, it doesn’t change anything anyway, to suffer, except to put your head back where it belongs.  I don’t love Bruno any less.  I figure I’ll always love him, one way or another, and how I felt when he was with me.  But I’m worried about him, how he feels right now, and whether or not he feels like he’s threatened by me knowing his secret.  I’m not scared of him or anything.  But I’m scared for him.  He took off for a vacation today, Ray said.  He said he won’t be back for a week, maybe longer.”

Val looked thoughtful.  “I hope that doesn’t mean he went underground.  He gave away a lot when he showed you that gun, especially with the silencer.  It sounds like he just wanted to see what you’d do.”

“Honestly,” I said, “and it makes me feel bad a little, I think he trusts me enough that he doesn’t think I’d do anything to hurt him.  And I wouldn’t, not really.  But my idea of what would hurt him and his idea of what would hurt him may be two entirely different things.  Still, I don’t think he was afraid he would come back to work to find a pair of handcuffs waiting for him.  Otherwise he wouldn’t have trusted me enough to show me what he did.”

The bar noise and Maria Muldaur were wailing away in the background, making it hard to hear each other anyway, so I took Detective Beltran’s business card and hid it in my bra, and Val and I lapsed into idle conversation for a while, grazing on our salads and sipping our wine.  Finally, though, I had to ask about her, and whether she was holding up OK after what happened at her Dad’s birthday.

“So how is Val?  I mean, Val personally.  I’ve been thinking about you a lot, and I wish we had gotten together again after that day to talk.  Tell me.”

She sighed and stretched in that way she had, lacing her fingers together and pushing them out backwards in front of her.  Then she tilted her head back and studied the Boston fern hanging overhead.

“Ohhh, I don’t know.  I just have always wished I could grow ferns like that.  Maidenhair ferns, those are the ones I like the best.  But they turn to dust if I even look at them.”

“Yes, I hear you.  I had some bad luck with a coleus lately myself.  And?”  I wasn’t going to let her off the hook.

“Well, that day, with you being there to see it, has pushed me to look for jobs on the east coast.  I’ve always wanted to be a New York producer.  The only thing that really doesn’t appeal to me is the cold and the ice.  The other place I’ve been looking is LA.  If I went there, I would probably look outside the news, maybe further out into the entertainment industry, documentaries for television, or films.  But I’m looking, I’m definitely looking.  I just don’t think there’s any way to salvage a life out here for myself after all that’s happened.”

“I think you’re probably right about that, Val,” I said, struck at the brass it took for me to give advice, considering my own life.  Still I forged ahead, knowing that Val needed somebody, and I was at hand, qualified or not.

“I’m really glad you’re looking at a fresh start.  I think about that myself sometimes, maybe finishing up at Rochester or Chicago.  But then the snow stops me too.  I think LA is a great idea.  You’d be terrific down there,” I added.

“Well, for now, I’m just hacking away at this story, and doing my daily thing on the 5:00 and 11:00 news.  But keep a good thought for me,” she replied sadly.

The waiter brought our checks, and we said good-bye with best intentions of getting together soon.  With the schedules we had, I think we both knew getting together probably wasn’t in the cards, since our stories didn’t really intersect except in the strangest, most specific way, kind of like people who cross paths in a hospital waiting room for a night and remember each other for the rest of their lives.

And so we grabbed hands for a second before we headed up Union to our separate stops, her back to the 41, and me to Van Ness to catch the last bus out to the Tenderloin, out to my temporary exile from the neighborhood I used to call home.


Monday I didn’t have to be at work until 11:00, so I got up at 6:30 and took a few photos around the neighborhood.  But by 9:00 I knew I was procrastinating.  I still had about an hour and a quarter before I had to take the long trek to the cable car stop where it turned the corner onto Hyde, and then wait until a car came that wasn’t dripping with tourists on their way to the wharf or Ghirardelli Square or the Cannery.  That was the only bad part about the cable car, even though it was the most direct way to get both to work and school: the accursed tourists who swarmed everything like flies, staring at city dwellers like we were under glass or in the zoo.

So, back in my apartment with nothing to do but wait for 10:15 and look at the telephone, I screwed up my courage and got Detective Beltran’s card off the TV where I had laid it after I took it out of my bra Saturday night.  And then I dialed.

Much to my chagrin, he was at his desk and picked up immediately.  “Organized crime, Beltran speaking.”


“Yes, ma’am, how can I help you?”

I knew it was not hot in my apartment, but now I felt like I was sitting in a sauna, sweat coating my palms and making the phone slick in my hand.  A wave of nausea came over me, and I felt a sudden urge to run to the bathroom.

“My name is Shelley Hobson.  I work at Lighthouse Market, in the deli,” I confessed timidly.

There was a brief pause.  “Well, Miss Hobson, it’s good to hear from you.  I’m glad you called.  But you sound nervous, and I want to tell you don’t be, because I’m here to assist you with whatever I can.  You just take your time, ma’am.  I have about thirty minutes before I have to go out on a call.  How can I be of assistance today?”

I took him at his word that I could take my time, so I took a deep breath and paused, since I felt like it wouldn’t take much to make me cry.  Once I had a good grip, I told him everything I knew, down to the threaded barrel on the gun and where the serial numbers were inscribed, with the kind of detail a person who has spent hours observing subjects to draw or photograph them can give.  And then I was fine again, almost better than I was before I had called, a weight lifted from my shoulders.
The detective had just a few more details he wanted to clear up about time and place, so he questioned me, and listened to my answers carefully, taking notes.  Finally, he asked, “Do you have any questions for me?  If I can, I’ll answer them.”

I thought for a moment. “Well, I do have a couple of questions.  Is Bruno in danger?  Am I in danger?  What kind of trouble is Bruno in?”  I asked, grasping at straws.

“I can tell you, ma’am, that we are watching Lighthouse for organized crime activity.  Right now, we don’t know what role Bruno plays, if any, other than to possess an unregistered weapon and an illegal silencer, which does carry a penalty of up to three years in prison on its own if we were to go after that right now.  But we haven’t connected him to the principal crimes we’re investigating as of yet, so for the time being we’re going to wait and see.  It may be that he’s been recruited to be available but hasn’t yet acted on it.  Maybe you rejecting him will have a deterrent effect, at least we can hope so.  Hopefully these events will bring him into cooperation with us, and we’ll approach him for that soon.  He doesn’t have any prior record.  But Ray is a different story.  I would advise you to simply go about your business and avoid any excess contact with Ray.  I wouldn’t visit his home, or be alone with him at all if you can avoid it.  If you can, I would even seek other employment and just move on with your life.  But if not, please be careful, including about who you talk to, and call if you see or hear anything out of the ordinary.”  He stopped and waited to see if I would add anything.

“Did Valerie tell you about the men with the wooden crates on the loading dock that night?”  I asked, not wanting to miss anything now that I had gone this far.

“Yes, ma’am, she did, we’re aware of those gentlemen.  Anything else?”

“Do you think Bruno has run away for good?” I asked quietly.

“Oh, no, ma’am, I don’t think so.  We actually knew he’d left town.  He’s safe nearby, I can’t disclose where, and he didn’t take his weapon.  Maybe you did him some good.  Like I said, maybe he’ll help us in the future,” he answered.

“God, I hope so.  I’m just worried about how close he is to everything, you know?”  I sniffed, and wiped my nose with my sleeve.

“Yes, ma’am, I know.  I need to go out on a call now, but I promise I’ll contact you if there’s anything at all you need to know for your safety.   And please contact me if you see or hear anything else suspicious.  OK?”

“Do you have the basketball card I gave Val?” I asked, suddenly remembering the day I first knew there might be something wrong, and how I had refused to think about it.

“We do.”

Whew, I thought.  “Can I give you my phone number?” I wondered if there was anything at all I could tell him that he didn’t already know.

“I already have that too, ma’am,” he replied quietly.  “But I do have to go.  Now you take care, and thank you.”

I felt purged after talking to Beltran, the confusion completely cleared and my mind free of intangible fears about what might come next.  It was a great comfort to me that they had Bruno in their sights and that he hadn’t done anything too big yet, at least that they knew of, not anything that he couldn’t overcome.  Still, I knew something precious had been broken, and I grieved for that.  And no matter what happened after this, nothing could ever put it back together again.

Later that day Val came into the deli.  While she was sipping her wine, I looked over to check on Ray, and after finding him safely behind the register, I whispered to her, remembering what she had told me about their intimate relationship, “Just how much information have you been able to give Beltran?  He already knew almost everything when I called him.”

She looked back at me sadly over the edge of her glass.  “A lot, Tranquilla. More than I ever wanted to know.”


A week and three days passed before Bruno came home.  The first day he was back at work, he looked thinner to me, and pale for having been away on "vacation."  When he saw me and our eyes met, I wondered if I looked as sad as he did.  All he had to say to me was, “Hi, bella,” and then he went about his business kind of hang-dog, no meep-meep, no hyperactive jogs around the store, just a sober, quiet young man with a lot on his mind.

By then it was almost July, and business continued to pick up pace in the market over the long, lonely weeks of summer.  But seemingly in spite of this, Ray came back to see me at the beginning of my shift one morning, and asked me to go back to the dock with him.

“Tranquilla,” he said gravely, a grim expression hanging around the corners of his eyes, “I’m afraid we haven’t been taking in enough in the deli to keep us going.”  He paused and watched me, apparently hesitant to go on.

My face fell.  “You’re not going to tell me what I think you are, are you?” I asked, dreading what I knew was coming next.

“I’m so sorry, Tranquilla, but we’re going to have to close the deli for good.  Next week is going to be your last week.”  My hand went up to my mouth and I started to cry. 

Ray reacted, “I was afraid of that.  Please don’t cry.  You’ve done such a good job while you’ve been here.  If it hadn’t been for you, we wouldn’a had the deli as long as we had it.  But we just can’t make a go of it any more.  Come ‘ere, honey.”  He opened his arms up to me, and, half afraid and half completely in trust of my old friend, I let myself lie against his chest with his arms around me while we both cried.

He stepped back and leaned down to look at me.  “Now, Tranquilla,” he said, blinking the tears back, “I’m going to take you down to the union hall next week to meet Henry.  He’s your local rep, and he’ll find you another job.  Until you do, he’ll help you file for unemployment and anything else you need to get by.  You’re gonna be OK, honey.  It’s gonna be OK.  Do you believe me?”

“I always believe in you, Ray,” I replied.  “You’ve always been there for me, and I thank you for that, really.  And I hope your finances get better soon,” I said, wiping my eyes, already over the first shock and partly relieved that I now had a legitimate way out of Lighthouse without having to deliberately walk away.  I had had enough of walking away for a while.

“I hope they get better, too, bella, but honestly, I don’t know if I can even keep my share in the store.  I may have to sell that too, just to stay whole.”  As he hung his head and covered his eyes, apparently hiding more tears, I wondered whether he was genuinely undone, or if this was a ploy to get out from under a mounting pile of evidence that was starting to tighten a noose around him.  I didn’t like mistrusting someone I cared so much about.  But it was the only choice I had now.

“I’m so sorry, Ray,” I said, calmer now.  Quietly, I gave thanks.  “I know I don’t have anything to offer you but my hope that everything will be OK.”  I reached up and gave him a kiss on the cheek, and thanked him for offering to take me to the union hall, and told him not to worry about Tranquilla, because I always landed on my feet.

So Bruno and Ray and I got through the day together, with two more weeks to be a family, such as we were after all that had happened between us, before our lives turned yet another corner.  And I had much to be thankful for, since that two weeks of work would take me through the end of summer almost to the start of school, when my family at Lighthouse would be split up for good, and unemployment benefits and food stamps would begin.  

*  *  *

Excerpt from Jacki’s Diary

September 6, 1975

Now that we’ve moved our whole headquarters to SF, and are doing all of our recruiting here and at the LA temple, we’re finally bringing in enough cash to pay for the programs and services we’re offering.  We changed our articles of incorporation a year ago June, to allow us to act more like a full-blown non-profit than a run of the mill church.  So we have the ability to run like a business, buy and sell real estate, stocks, bonds, and securities, take on debt, act as a trustee, things like that.  The ability to act as trustee is a big one, because we can legally manage resources for our members without finger-pointing from outsiders when their checks come in.  And the new articles allow us to operate overseas, so that’s opened the door to grow as big as we want in Guyana. 

The Redwood Valley church services just weren’t lucrative enough to support a community any more.  With Grace writing out checks for $30,000 to $50,000 a month for the auto and bus bills alone, there was no way we were going to make a go of it staying centered in Redwood Valley.  The more people can give us, the more we can take care of them.  Jim says LA alone is worth $25,000 or more every weekend.

Commitment was the theme in the service today because there’s been some chatter about defecting from a few people, and we have a whole group that Jim wants as full time Temple, but they won’t commit all of their assets.
He talked about Muslims being expected to give 33%, where we only have to give 25%, unless we’re in communal living, which Jim says is better for the spirit, and better for the community anyway.  If you’re in communal living, you have to give 100%.  Truthfully, once people commit financially, then they don’t think about leaving any more; they really can’t.  A few more signed up to move into the new rooms in the church building right after Jim gave the example of the Muslims.  So they’ll be expected to give 100% now, since they’ll be full-time Temple.  That just gives us more to work with; every little bit helps.  And Edith signed over her car to Stokes today.  We needed another car. 

September 14, 1975

The election is next month, and we’ve been showing up in busloads at Moscone’s rallies.  Sometimes we make up the whole damn crowd.  He’ll owe us after this.  If he doesn’t get the majority in the first round, there’ll be a run off in December.  I don’t see him taking it the first time around against Barbagelata.  Barbagelata is the complete capitalist.  He’s got the high rollers locked down, and his war chest is huge.  But Moscone’s strength is that he’s got lots of friends on the street and in the neighborhoods, where the people are.  And that’s where we’re connected.  Registering the right voters will be the trick.  If that doesn’t get us where we need to be, we have other ways.  Moscone will be our ticket to the front row seats in the city, which is what we need.

No comments:

Post a Comment